The Hand of Darwin: Beagle Dairy - Bahia, Brazil

The Hand of Darwin: Beagle Dairy - Bahia, Brazil

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Beagle Dairy: Bahia, Brazil

Hand-drawn, Watercolor Map by Charles Darwin

This stratigraphical section map details a mile-long stretch from Punta Alta to Bahia Blanca.

(Reprinted with permission of Syndics of Cambridge University Library, DAR 44:22)

» listen (mp3, 2:14) to David Kohn provide a broader context to this passage and why Darwin wrote it

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From Charles Darwin's Beagle Diary:

Bahia (St. Salvador)
February 28, 1832

Their beauties are as nothing compared to the Vegetation; I believe from what I have seen Humboldts glorious descriptions are & will for ever be unparalleled: but even he with his dark blue skies & the rare union of poetry with science which he so strongly displays when writing on tropical scenery, with all this falls far short of the truth. The delight one experiences in such times bewilders the mind.—if the eye attempts to follow the flight of a gaudy butter-fly, it is arrested by some strange tree or fruit; if watching an insect one forgets it in the stranger flower it is crawling over.—if turning to admire the splendour of the scenery, the individual character of the foreground fixes the attention. The mind is a chaos of delight, out of which a world of future & more quiet pleasure will arise.— I am at present fit only to read Humboldt; he like another Sun illumines everything I behold.—

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has co-authored several books about Charles Darwin, including Darwin: The Life of a Tormented Evolutionist. He's been researching and teaching Darwin for more than 30 years in Cambridge, England.

is Oxnam Professor Emeritus of Science and Society at Drew University and editor of the Darwin Digital Library of Evolution at the American Museum of Natural History Library.

is a geneticist at Virginia Commonwealth University and an Anglican priest.

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